The timing of the rapture and a theory

The Timing of the Rapture


1st Corinthians 15:50 – 53

  1. I.                   What is this passage talking about?
    1. a.      The way we can know is by asking, what event takes place when we are all changed in the twinkling of an eye?
    2. b.      The answer is: It’s talking about the rapture
  2. II.                When does it happen?
    1. a.      At the last trumpet (see verse 52)
    2. b.      Notice that the dead are raised fist, then we also rise imperishable


1st Thessalonians 4:13 – 18

  1. I.                   We can discern that the Thessalonians were concerned about what happens to the dead at the time of the rapture
    1. a.      Paul tells them that they will come back with the Lord when He comes.
  2. II.                What signs are given in this passage?
    1. a.      Jesus returns with a shout and a trumpet blast

                                                              i.      At this time, the bodies of the dead will be glorified and their spirits who have been with the Lord will re-enter the glorified bodies

                                                            ii.      Based on what we saw in 1st Corinthians, we too at this time will receive glorified bodies (this is the rapture of the Church).

  1. III.             Which trumpet blast is this?
    1. a.      Is there a trumpet after the last trumpet?

                                                              i.      We saw in 1st Corinthians 15:52 that it takes place at the last trumpet, is this a different trumpet?  Is there more than one rapture?


2nd Thessalonians 2:1 – 12

  1. I.                   Verse one makes it very clear what this passage is talking about.
    1. a.      The coming of the Lord and our being gathered together to Him
  2. II.                What are the signs that Paul gives to the Thessalonians so that they will know they not missed it?
    1. a.      The rebellion comes first
    2. b.      And the man of lawlessness is revealed

                                                              i.      Both of these things happen before the coming of the Lord and our being gathered together to Him

                                                            ii.      What is our being gathered together to Him? 

  1. 1.      Answer: The rapture
  2. III.             Who or what is restraining the man of lawlessness?
    1. a.      Paul assumed his readers already knew what was restraining the man of sin
    2. b.      In verse 7 he says the mystery of lawlessness WAS being restrained at the present time – WHILE the man of sin was being restrained. 

                                                              i.      This tells us that the man of sin/lawlessness was being restrained but there was still some sort of lawlessness that was still taking place.  In other words, this restraining did not completely stop the devil from doing things

  1. IV.             What did the restraining pertain to?
    1. a.      Matthew 12:28-29

                                                              i.      Here Jesus was saying that Satan was bound, in order for the miracles to occur

  1. 1.      Were people still wicked?  Yes!  Where they still sinful?  Yes!  Were people trying to attack the Gospel and Christ Himself?  Yes!

                                                            ii.      The binding of Satan refers to his inability to stop the forward progress of the Church – “The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.” 

  1. b.      Acts 14:15 – 16

                                                              i.      In past times (before Christ) only Israel was privy to the truth of God (Romans 3:2)

  1. c.       Revelation 20:1 – 3

                                                              i.      What does the binding of Satan pertain to?

  1. 1.      Being able to deceive the nations

                                                            ii.      When did it happen?

  1. 1.      Remember Revelation is a series of parallels, not a long chronological book, but a book that tells the same events over and over from different perspectives.
  2. 2.      Answer: The binding of Satan happened during Jesus 1st Advent, and specifically at the cross.

                                                          iii.      What about the thousand years?

  1. 1.      Many want to say that the 1,000 years are a literal thousand years… but in doing that they must also say that the chain Satan is bound with is literal as well, and I know of no one who is willing to do that, as Satan is a spirit being, not a flesh and blood being.
  2. 2.      If the thousand years are literal, and we take this interpretation, then we must say that Satan was released between 1,030 and 1,110 AD
  3. 3.      If the thousand years are a figure of speech meaning “a very long time” (as the phrase ‘a thousand years’ is often used in Scripture) then Satan could have been released at any time between Christ’s 1st Advent and now, or sometime in the future. 
  4. 4.      If we take the premillennial dispensational view, then the binding of Satan is yet to come and we must take Jesus’ Words in Matthew 12:28-29 as meaning something else.  But even if we do that, we must remember that the binding of Satan has to do only with his ability to deceive the nations. 
  5. d.      How does all of this apply to the Restrainer?

                                                              i.      Several views have been offered up

  1. 1.      The early Church felt that since the restrainer is spoken of in the neuter gender in verse 6 and the masculine gender in verse 7 (in the original Greek language), that it must either be an angel or a form of government or power.  That would mean that it could’ve been seen as either the Roman Empire and the rule of law established by God
  2. 2.      In the 1800’s dispensationalists offered the interpretation that the restrainer might be the Holy Spirit.  But they had problems with this themselves in the sense that the Holy Spirit is always spoken of in the masculine gender, and how does one “remove” the Holy Spirit?  If the Holy Spirit is removed how does anyone get saved?
  3. 3.      Modern dispensationalists have said that the restrainer is the Church, and that the Church is removed through the rapture (a pre-tribulational rapture – but again we’ve already discussed this and will discuss it more in a moment).  The problem with this view is that but this would be the only time the Church is referred to in the masculine gender, everywhere else the Church is referred to in the female gender.  On a side note, some Reformed theologians also say it is the Church, but not in the sense of being raptured, but in the sense of the falling away.  They say that the Church becomes so ineffective in spreading the Gospel that it results in more and more lawlessness, and the love of many growing cold
  4. e.       Thus there is not a consensus of agreement on who or what the restrainer is.  What is clear is that in the original Greek language the restrainer is spoken of as hindering the man of lawlessness, not as completely halting his activity.


Matthew 24

  1. I.                   We see tribulation occurring to the saints in verse 9
  2. II.                We see the apostasy or rebellion in verse 10
    1. a.      Notice Jesus encourages His listeners to endure to the end
  3. III.             In verse 15 we see the abomination of desolation
    1. a.      We must ask ourselves is this the man of lawlessness spoken of by Paul in 2nd Thessalonians 2?

                                                              i.      It would seem so, as he is spoken of as standing in the holy place (see 2nd Thess. 2:4 for comparison)

                                                            ii.      Since this is the same man of lawlessness, then what we’ve learned in 2nd Thessalonians applies here as well.

  1. 1.      Again notice that Jesus is talking to believers in verses 16 – 20
  2. 2.      And then comes great tribulation (no mention of a rapture yet; but Jesus does say that the days will be cut short for the sake of the elect.  If the elect have been raptured, why then must the days be cut short?)
  3. IV.             Verses 29 – 31
    1. a.      Notice it’s immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days that the Son of Man appears in the clouds
    2. b.      We see the trumpet in verse 31 and the gathering of the elect to Him.

                                                              i.      Is this the rapture?

  1. 1.      Answer: Yes, it would appear so

                                                            ii.      When does it occur?

  1. 1.      After the tribulation
  2. 2.      After the man of sin has proclaimed himself to be God
  3. V.                In verses 36 – 39 Jesus gives us the example of Noah
    1. a.      What happened with Noah?

                                                              i.      He was put inside the ark, judgment came, and he remained in the ark until the earth had been purified and all the sinners were destroyed

                                                            ii.      In like manner, we will be raptured, and meet the Lord in the air (again after the anti-Christ has been revealed and after the tribulation), we will be with the Lord in the air as He destroys the anti-Christ and all who follow him, and as He destroys the earth with fire and remakes it, and we return with the Lord to the earth where we will rule and reign with Him forever.


My Theory

My theory, and it is just a theory, is that we are in the tribulation right now… That Satan has been released and that he is again deceiving the nations.  I think we are seeing the falling away (ie. the apostasy and rebellion spoken of in Scripture), and that soon the man of lawlessness (the anti-Christ) will be revealed.  I think we are seeing the love of many grow cold in the fact that many professing Christians are unwilling to share the Gospel, and the result is that the Church is growing smaller.  I think we are seeing the deception that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24 on the rise through this false teaching of the word of faith movement and these pseudo Charismatic churches (Benny Hinn, Joel Olsteen, Kenneth Copeland, etc…).  And I think that before long, and possibly in my lifetime, the Lord will return.

Are we ready?


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